Computer simulation of the rheology of concentrated star polymer suspensions

Johan T. Padding, Evelyne van Ruymbeke, Dimitris Vlassopoulos, Wim J. Briels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


We use particle-based computer simulations to study the rheology of suspensions of high-functionality star polymers with long entangled arms. Such particles have properties which are intermediate between those of soft colloidal particles and entangled polymer chains. In the simulations, each star polymer is coarse-grained to a single particle. In order to faithfully reproduce dynamical properties, it is very important to not only include time-averaged interactions (potentials of mean force) but to also account for transient interactions induced by entanglements between the arms of different star polymers. Using a model which has all these features, it is found that, for sufficiently high shear rates, the start-up shear stress displays an overshoot. With increasing concentration, the core interactions increasingly dominate the initial stress response, leading to a maximum in the stress overshoot at relatively low strain values (0. 1 to 0. 5). Transient forces start to dominate after this initial stage. In a simulated experiment in which the shear rate is suddenly stepped-down from a high to a lower value, the stress shows a clear undershoot, with the minimum stress again at a relatively low strain value (based on the new shear rate). Finally, it is shown that a stress plateau develops in the flow curve. This plateau is absent when the transient forces between the polymer stars are not taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-484
JournalRheologica Acta
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Brownian dynamics
  • Memory effect
  • Shear flow
  • Start-up experiment
  • Stochastic simulation
  • Stress relaxation


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